Pipes as Art?

Discussion in 'The Smoking Lounge' started by Old Codger, Mar 3, 2013.

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  1. Old Codger

    Old Codger Well-Known Member

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    I always thought of pipes as practical devices. Differences in material quality, engineering, comfort in hand, and performance were the criteria involved in making a pipe purchase decision. Not really much different than the process involved when buying any tool. After seeing many posts commenting on PSF about pipes by makers that I wasn't even aware existed, I'm rethinking my attitude towards pipes as exclusively practical devices. Without getting too far in to the "What is Art?" or "One Man's Art is another's...." part of this I'm trying to determine at what point a pipe is no longer a practical device but purely a piece of art whose function ceases having any practical use other than something that is beautiful or interesting to look at and appreciated simply due to it's form.
    Just a few examples of pipes that I keep going back and looking at. Yes, I'd probably smoke them at least a couple of times. There's something about these that gives me a certain amount of pleasure just from looking at them, which is exactly the same thing that happens with pieces of art on canvas or pieces of sculpture that I have.
    http://www.parkspipes.com/Pipe_Specifics_Page/GWhirlThree_Properties.htm
    http://www.parkspipes.com/images/Website_ready_images_2003/ChurchWard_Box_1.jpg
    http://www.natekingpipes.com/2012/07/37-12-gear-punk-1-1/
    http://www.smokingpipes.com/pipes/new/maigurs-knets/moreinfo.cfm?product_id=112248


    Your thoughts?
     
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  2. afiaowo

    afiaowo Member

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    All four pipes you posted are practical. You can load the bowls and smoke said tobacco. Therefore, one man's are is another... Not everyone likes a billiard.
     
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  3. Old Codger

    Old Codger Well-Known Member

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    Yes, you can smoke them, but would you be buying them because they can be smoked or because they are beautiful things to look at and the practical part of it is rendered trivial?
     
  4. Thuber88

    Thuber88 Well-Known Member

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    Most of those will never be smoked, because that kind of buyer isn't going to hurt the air that they breathe, let alone, you don't set fire to art , well most art anyway, some should be burnt with the heat of the sun.
    #2 CW style I could see .

    If the idea is to sit and relax and enjoy a pleasant flavorful smoke, then most of those will miss the boat from convenience of use alone.
    When you cant hold onto it easily, it is too heavy to carry in your mouth without popping a tooth loose, and tips over and pours out ash, and hot things when you set it down, and costs a small fortune, yep, that's what I'm looking for.:rolleyes:
     
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  5. Thuber88

    Thuber88 Well-Known Member

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    And never forget, there is a guy who squirts paint out of his a@@ and sells them for a fortune, to suck.. er.. I mean collectors...
    So much for most art.
     
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  6. afiaowo

    afiaowo Member

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    I don't think it's any different for those who like those shapes. I love the billiard. But many find the shape boring. I buy a billiard because I love the way it looks as much as the person who buys more "artistic" pipes. I find the billiard AS artistic as any other shape.
     
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  7. dmkerr

    dmkerr PG- free since '83! Moderator

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    For me, that point is never. As much as I love artistic carvings (see avatar for one example), if I can't smoke it I don't buy it. It's functionality never becomes secondary.

    I'm aware that there are pipe collectors out there that either don't smoke certain pipes or don't smoke at all. It's therefore different for them. And there's nothing wrong with being enamored with the art of the pipe and not the smoking. Lotta stamp collectors out there, too, and collectors of other things that can't be "used".
     
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  8. bubbagump

    bubbagump Well-Known Member

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    That gear punk pipe would be cool as hell to display in an automotive, mechanical, etc. themed room.
     
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  9. Tony Malerich

    Tony Malerich Sales Account

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    There certainly are those who might buy such a pipe solely to display. Some of them may be smokeable, some may not. The fellow who stuck a bunch of gemstones into his mediocre blowfish and wants to charge $15K is, apparently, not known for pipe engineering. His pipes are strictly for show. Others can do both. I certainly would smoke one if I ever got such, but I'm not in the position to shell that much out for a pipe!
     
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  10. fogpipe

    fogpipe Member

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    I agree, a well executed billiard is art at its highest expression.
    Even if it doesnt have any doo dads hanging off it. :)
     
  11. Longshanks

    Longshanks He who shall; so shall he... wait, who?

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    Regardless of whether someone has or not, I juuuuust couldn't see any of those being smoked at the local B&M. Well, may be the second one could be seen because it isn't as exaggerated as the others, but not the other three.

    I'm all for the arts, but there comes a time when it gets ridiculous. How many people have tie-dyed pipe wrenches? Doesn't make sense... renders the pipe useless if you truly view it as a piece of art. These designs do the same thing to the pipe... for me... renders it useless. They just aren't practical. I feel like artists should leave tools alone and leave the 'interpretive' designs for sculpture and canvas and such. I know... boring ol' fuddy duddy. LOL
     
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  12. bubbagump

    bubbagump Well-Known Member

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  13. Old Codger

    Old Codger Well-Known Member

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  14. Old Codger

    Old Codger Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps some of your meerschaums are more art than smokers. The cost of meerschaums depending on the carver(artist) can reach some fairly healthy levels. As far as smoking devices there has to be a point where the performance is past the point of diminishing returns. Since you smoke your pipes would it be fair to say that some of what you are willing to pay for is the "art"? As you said, you love artistic carvings but if the most beautiful and intricately carved pipe that you have is not the greatest smoker but still passable, does that diminish the appreciation and affection that you have for that pipe?

    Stamp collectors, and people that don't smoke pipes yet collect them aren't really what I'm thinking about. The values placed on uniqueness aren't part of the equation either. There's an emotional factor involved in art that's part of what I'm driving at.
     
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  15. dBear

    dBear Active Member

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    I think part of the beauty of the "pipe as artform" is that it retains its practical function. Those Parks pipes are great examples - you know you could smoke them if you so desired. (In fact, they look like they'd be great smokers.) If I knew they were just solid blocks of wood with a chamber cut in one end and a stem-looking thing stuck on the other, I think a lot of the artistry would go out of it for me.
     
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  16. Old Codger

    Old Codger Well-Known Member

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    Thanks dBear. You just clarified something for me. I wouldn't even consider a piece that wasn't at least a serious attempt to be a usable pipe as part of this. That's what I was trying to get at in my response to DMKerr but may have failed in getting across.
     
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  17. dBear

    dBear Active Member

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    Definitely.

    Also yes. It's like seeing a woman who is stunningly beautiful, and then you talk to her for a few minutes and find out she's an obnoxious air head. Suddenly she ain't so pretty any more.
     
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  18. dBear

    dBear Active Member

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    I agree wholeheartedly. That's one of the things that makes me enthralled with that Parks Giant Whirlwind - inside all that intricacy, you can still see where the straight line of the draft hole can go from bit to tobacco chamber. Artistic genius!
     
  19. Old Codger

    Old Codger Well-Known Member

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    DMKerr has a meerschaum that looks like a knot. Beautiful looking pipe that he used to use as his avatar. Not intricately carved, just beautiful smooth flowing form. Maybe he'll come back and post a link to a photo of it.
     
  20. dBear

    dBear Active Member

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    I would love to see that pipe!
     
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